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THE SITUATION ROOM
New Details in Boston Investigation; Former Brother-in-Law of Boston Suspects Speaks Out; Memorial to Victims Along Boylston Street; Bombing Pushed Business Owners to Brink; Senator: Suspects Likely Read al Qaeda Magazine; Bomb Suspects Once Received Welfare; Suspects May Have Planned NYC 'Party'
Aired April 24, 2013 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now: We're retracing the steps of Tamerlan Tsarnaev during the Boston bombing suspect's mysterious trip last year to Russia. Who did he talk to? Where did he go? CNN is there on the ground. We're looking for answers.
Plus, a new claim that the Tsarnaev brothers did not act alone. Stand by for my exclusive interview with their former brother-in-law.
And there are crowds again on Boylston Street right near the bombing site. People are telling me what they have lost and how their city has changed. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Boston. We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
A potentially critical interrogation today in the Boston terror attacks. We're told that U.S. and Russian officials grilled the suspects' parents all day, into the night. A delegation of FBI agents traveled to Dagestan in southern Russia, where the Tsarnaev brothers' parents both live.
CNN is there as well, investigating Tamerlan Tsarnaev's visit last year and whether it may have been a turning point on his alleged path to becoming a terrorist.
Here's CNN's senior international correspondent, Nic Robertson.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: For some of the time he was here, Tamerlan Tsarnaev lived here, house number 50, with his parents.
Every day he would come out and he would walk down these steps, onto the street here, city Makhachkala, population about half a million. And it looks and feels quiet, perfectly ordinary, very quiet neighborhood, on one side of the city, the mountains and on the other the sea. But the city is anything but quiet. Right here in May 2012, when Tamerlan was here, two suicide bombers attacked a police checkpoint, 12 people killed, civilians and police, more than 90 wounded.
And even today, the attacks continue, gun and bomb attacks against security services.
(voice-over): Islamist rebels like this man, Abu Dujana, whose video Tamerlan posted on his own Web site, vowed to attack Russian forces.
(on camera): So the question is, what did he come here for? It's easy to imagine in a city this size that someone can slip away for a couple of hours, or a couple of days, and meet with people. If he did, who did he meet with? Where did they go? What did they talk about? We have been following in his footsteps.
This is the mosque that Tamerlan reportedly came to pray at. Ask anyone around here -- and we have talked to plenty of them -- and they will all tell that it has a very radical reputation. Most Muslims in this city avoid it.
(voice-over): Within minutes of our arrival, we're spotted. He tells us they practice pure Islam. Thousands of young people attend.
(on camera): Why would he choose this place as opposed to any other one?
(voice-over): "How would I know if Tamerlan was among them?" he adds. It's clear they don't want us snooping around.
Next, I try a store outside number 50, Tamerlan's house.
(on camera): Well, the lady in there didn't want to talk to me on camera, but she did say she remembers Tamerlan, remembers him going in for about a month, month-and-a-half towards the end of spring, early summer year. She said he didn't buy tobacco, didn't buy alcohol. That would seem to be in line with his strict religious views. But she also says he didn't go in with any of his friends, so she has no idea what sort of people he was hanging out with.
(voice-over): We're not the only ones looking for answers in Makhachkala. The FBI has arrived.
(on camera): What we can show you right now is this building off to my left here. It's a drab, five-story, sort of office type building. It's a security headquarters, FSB headquarters. And right now, we're told that inside there, the FBI are talking to Tamerlan's parents.
(voice-over): Already talking to journalists, their stories have been inconsistent. Right now, much of Tamerlan's time in this troubled city still a mystery.
Nic Robertson, CNN, Makhachkala, Dagestan.
BLITZER: Nic is joining us now.
Nic, I know the FBI spent time on the ground there in Dagestan where you are interviewing both parents who live there. What do we know about this question-and-answer session?
ROBERTSON: Wolf, we know very little about it.
And the security around the FSB headquarters is tight. The very fact you're not allowed to film it kind of gives a strong indication on the ground that they want to keep the information going on inside close at hand.
We do know that on Tuesday evening, the mother was interviewed alone, the father was supposed to be interviewed. He was ill. They both were interviewed through today inside the building. You know, we should expect there also should be something of a two-way street. Obviously the parents will be interested in Tamerlan's funeral, the arrangements for that, could they go, should they go, what perhaps are the legal implications if they go to the United States, and move off of Russian soil, if you will.
But the actual details of what the FBI asked them, we don't know. But it's also likely the FBI will want to talk as well to the FSB to get information from them as well, share information about what they knew about Tamerlan as well, Wolf.
BLITZER: Lots and lots of unanswered questions. Nic, Nic Robertson on the ground in Dagestan for us, we will stay in close touch.
We're also learning more about another apparent influence on Tamerlan Tsarnaev, a mysterious man named Misha, a convert to Islam who lived in Cambridge, right here outside of Boston. The suspects' uncle told CNN that his nephew was -- quote -- "brainwashed" by this individual named Misha. I asked another family insider about that in an exclusive interview.
Elmirza Khozhugov is the former brother-in-law of the suspects, and I spoke with him. He spoke with me from Kazakstan.
BLITZER: What can you tell us about Misha, and supposedly his influence over the older brother?
ELMIRZA KHOZHUGOV, SUSPECTS' FORMER BROTHER-IN-LAW: Well, first of all, please allow me to express my condolences to all of those who lost their loved ones when this happened.
And, yes, I met Misha. Tamerlan introduced me to him.
Well, it seemed to me that he, Misha, had influence on Tamerlan.
BLITZER: Do you believe he inspired the older brother to become a radical Muslim?
KHOZHUGOV: I'm not sure if he inspired or taught him to be radical Islamist, but he surely did have influence and did teach him things that would make Tamerlan, you know, go away from the people and go more into the religion and maybe, maybe that's possible that he suggested to him some radical ideas, but I wouldn't say that -- I mean, I didn't witness him making him radical or you know, I didn't witness him say things to this.
I just know that Tamerlan told me that he quit boxing and music because Misha was, you know, teaching him that it's not good in Islam to do those things.
BLITZER: What was Misha's last name -- what was Misha's last name? Do you know his full name? Misha?
KHOZHUGOV: No, I don't -- I don't know his full name. I only met him twice and we just shook hands and Tamerlan told me this is Misha my friend. He is an Armenian who converted to Islam and he lived in the U.S. for a while now. That's pretty much it. I heard them speak to each other, but I didn't listen to Misha's words too much because, you know, I don't really like talking about religion so much.
BLITZER: Did you ever suspect that Misha was connected directly to any terror groups?
KHOZHUGOV: I didn't suspect even him or Tamerlan being connected to terror groups or terror -- having terrorist ideas, but I know that they had a lot of conversations about just, you know, Islam and how Islam is being attacked from the outside -- you know from the Western countries and how Islam is under pressure, but I never heard them speak of, you know, doing -- doing -- having terrorist attacks ideas.
BLITZER: When did you notice a change in Tamerlan? When did he -- when did you see him becoming more -- more religious, more devout, if you will?
KHOZHUGOV: It was when he was 22, 21, 22. He just graduated from high school and he didn't get into college right away. So he was having I guess difficulties finding himself and at some point he started being interested in not just religion and not just Islam, but he also read other philosophers and read Confucius. He read Gandhi. But eventually of course he came out closer to Islam because that's his background. That's what his family believes. And I guess that is why Islam was his choice.
At first but then yes he -- he started changing. He started changing towards being somewhat radical, yes. He would always support ideas of, you know, being -- good Muslim, you know pray five times a day. And you know he was going to mosque regularly, start doing it when he was about 22, 23, maybe. He would always protect -- try to protect many conversation. He would try to protect his ideas and defend Islam and maybe even sometimes defend, you know, people in other countries like, I guess, Afghanistan. That yes they were invaded for no reason or something like that.
BLITZER: Stand by for more of my interview with the suspects' former brother-in-law. He believes the 19-year-old, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was a good kid who was obeying orders. Now to the people here in Boston who are recovering and rebuilding. Of the 264 people wounded in the bombings, 39 of them remain in the hospital, still too many, but some progress unfolding. Also today, the area around the bomb site is reopened for business. It's a huge step toward trying to get this city back to normal.
CNN's Deborah Feyerick has right been in the middle of it all. She's joining us now.
How is it going over there, Deb?
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, it's so interesting.
A lot of the people who -- all of the people that you see here, they are looking at a small memorial. But I want to show you this, this area in particular, because this is where evidence response teams were working. This is a brand-new cement. You have to remember, those forensic experts removed a lot of evidence from this particular location. This, they believe, is where the bomb went off.
You can see just the impact of it, again, a circle around a memorial, but up there, the windows that were blasted out on both sides, just the impact, the sheer force of all of this. This entire street had been closed, as the agents worked to make sure that they got every single piece of evidence they could. They even had street sweepers getting in. But now you see a lot of the people here, and they're taking pictures.
If we can -- Tom, if just can come so we can see, somebody left their medal. A lot of flowers. This is a much smaller one. But this is where one of the two women lost their lives, and dozens of others were injured. Some of the stores, we spoke to one store manager, Wolf, and he said they had to clean out their entire store, their entire stock, because some of those who were injured, they actually went into the store to be triaged.
So, again, just feeling this sort of come back to normal. The one thing you have to remember, this really is a hallowed spot where people lost their lives, they lost their limbs. But the message everybody has is that we remember, we will not forget and we're in this together -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Deborah Feyerick on Boylston Street, which has now been reopened, thanks for that.
Still ahead, the bomb suspects' plans for after the attack and the shocking trip that may actually have been in the works. New information coming in. And stand by for more of my exclusive interview with the suspects' former brother-in-law. He sounds convinced that someone besides the two brothers may have been directly involved in the bombing. That's coming up.
BLITZER: Let's get back to my exclusive interview now with the former brother-in-law of the Boston bombing suspects. He tells me he thinks they had help in planning the attacks here in Boston. He's also backing up Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's claims that he was influenced by his older dead brother, Tamerlan. When we spoke to him, he was in Kazakstan. I was here in Boston. I asked him what he could tell me about the 19-year-old Dzhokhar.
KHOZHUGOV: He was a really calm guy. To me, he was the little brother of my friend. And he was -- there was never a suspicion that he would be doing something wrong or -- he seemed really smart. He was getting good grades at school, and he would always listen to his parents, not like Tamerlan who would occasionally stand up and state his own ideas.
But Dzhokhar would be more humble, would be more patient. And he was nice. He was smiling. And he didn't seem like he had been depressed ever or unhappy with anything. And, honestly, to me, it seemed today that maybe he got under the influence of his older brother.
BLITZER: Do you believe he was brainwashed by his older brother?
KHOZHUGOV: I believe he was just maybe obeying him because he is the older brother.
And, yes, I know that they all love Tamerlan. They all admired -- his younger sisters and the brother, Dzhokhar, really thought of Tamerlan as the role model. And I believe that he didn't question much. I believe that he didn't put any suspicions on -- or didn't put any questions at all on what Tamerlan was doing. He just did what Tamerlan said.
He respected him
BLITZER: What did you think when you first heard the these two brothers were the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing attacks?
KHOZHUGOV: Well, I opened up the news online and I saw the picture of suspect number one and the picture of Tamerlan, and, yes, I recognized him right away. I was shocked. I jumped up and said, "Oh, my God. This is not happening."
And I was hoping it was a mistake, but then I read the names, and I realized that it's happening and it's true. BLITZER: Have you been interviewed by the FBI?
KHOZHUGOV: No, never.
BLITZER: And if they asked for your -- if they wanted to get your thoughts on what was going on, would you be open to helping the U.S. investigation into the bombings?
I think anyone in our family would be willing to help, to find out what really happened, what really went on in his head, or who helped him, if there is anyone who helped him.
BLITZER: Bottom line, Elmirza, do you believe the allegations against these two brothers are true, that they planted these two bombs that killed three people, injured more than 250 other people? Do you believe these allegations?
KHOZHUGOV: I believe that Dzhokhar admitted it, and only since he did admit it, that's when I started really believing it.
I mean, I hoped that they didn't do it. I did hope that they were innocent. But I believe that, in the U.S., the investigations are not blind so much. And I believe that this happened. They were being hunted down for a reason. I was hoping it wasn't them. I was hoping it was a mistake. But since Dzhokhar admitted it or gave his thoughts on it, I now believe it. Yes, it's possible. And probably they did it.
BLITZER: Elmirza, what happened here? Why did these two brothers go down this path, as alleged by federal authorities? How did this happen, two normal guys growing up in the Boston area all of a sudden move in this other direction, if these allegations are true?
KHOZHUGOV: I think that somebody did have influence on the other brother, and in his turn, the older brother had influence on the younger one.
I don't think that anyone who is mentally normal would be wishing death to someone else. I just believe that people are good in themselves.
And knowing Tamerlan for a few years, I remember him as a good person, as a good friend. But he was searching for religion. And I believe that someone helped him or directed him in the wrong direction. So I think it lies somewhere nearby in America in Boston.
I believe there are people who, if they didn't make him, then at least they planted maybe the idea to him that he could do such a thing. And I'm not saying it's not his fault. I'm saying that I hope that he wasn't, you know, the only one. I hope that there are other people who we can still find and we can still question, that we can still maybe stop, if they're planning something else.
But with regards to Dzhokhar, I really believe that he's -- he's not -- I'm not saying he's innocent, but I believe that he was under the influence of an elder brother. And he was not realizing what he was doing. He was too young. He's just 19 now.
And for a guy, that's just the starting point in life. And probably his life is ruined now, but I still hope that he will seek forgiveness from those who he has hurt. And I hope that people will find strength and maybe forgive him.
BLITZER: My interview with the suspect's former brother-in-law. He was in Kazakstan when I spoke with him. It's an online al Qaeda magazine devoted to terror. Was it also a how-to manual for the Boston bomb suspects? Stay with us.
BLITZER: Happening now: A scarred, but strong city comes back to life. A local businessman tells me about surviving the terror and the financial struggles he faces now.
Plus, a possible inspiration for the marathon attack, new evidence that the suspects read al Qaeda's online magazine that includes instructions on making bombs.
And before the bombings, it turns out that the Tsarnaev brothers were getting financial help, get this, from U.S. taxpayers.
I'm Wolf Blitzer in Boston. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
It's been a deserted and sad reminder of the Boston Marathon bomb attacks, but as we saw earlier today, Boston's famed Boylston Street is now back open, and within a somber memorial.
CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin is joining us. She's on the scene over there at that memorial.
Brooke, tell our viewers what you're seeing.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, Wolf, we're just across the street from you. And I tell you, what a difference a week-and-a-half has now made. The heart of the Back Bay is back, back open.
This is Boylston Street. This was the crime scene, and now it is reopened. Take a look around. These are all the people getting off work, wanting to come down to the memorial site. When Boylston was shut down, there was a makeshift memorial just at the head of the street. And now people are signing.
People from Boston, people from around the world have been here all day. I tell you, I was here this morning, and this whole sheet was blank. Now you can see it is just absolutely full of messages, thoughts and prayers to those affected. "We're not only strong, we're strong enough to heal. We're Boston strong."
Tom, walk with me, and, Wolf, let me just walk you around and you can see candles here. This whole area, these barricades, by the way, from the marathon, they brought them all in for this memorial site. Something I noticed, all of these different tennis shoes, I don't know if you can see over these folks watching. We saw Dr. Jill Biden here today, and she brought a pair of running shoes, obviously, the running shoes symbolic.
Here, on one, someone has scribbled, "Never forget."
One more thing I want to show you, Wolf. Tom, let's go around the corner through the flowers, through the signs, stay strong Boston, through all the T-shirts, finally here, I noticed -- excuse me -- a couple of baseballs. These baseballs, you see, "Stay brave." This is for 8-year-old Martin Richard. He loved his T-ball. So, this is what is here, different pieces, different reminders of the three young victims whose lives were lost just up the street here on Boylston.
But Wolf, you were here. It's amazing, talking to different people. I talked to a woman who got her medal today from the marathon, who was one of those who didn't quite finish. And they talk about just coming here, almost not believing it, watching the coverage on television, needing to see it with their own eyes, pay their own respects. And finally begin the healing process, Wolf. Here it is. In the middle of Boylston Street.
BLITZER: I was -- I was there with you. It was so moving just to be at that memorial. And just to walk up and down Boylston Street...
BLITZER: And see those two sites where those two bombs went off at the end of the Boston Marathon. And see people coming in from all over. They just want to be there to express their solidarity and see this city come back to life. It was really inspiring to me, as well.
All right, Brooke. You're going to come back later this hour. Stand by.
I spoke to a business owner on Boylston Street. He's had a business there for more than three decades. Listen to this.
BLITZER: And you're back in business today, first time in a long time. This is the first day you're really open for business here on Boylston Street.
ED BORASH, SIR SPEEDY PRINTING: Yes. We've been closed for about nine days now. And it's really been tough. You know, it's -- from a financial situation, from the terrorist attacks, from employees with families not getting paid. You know, just dealing with this on a daily basis, it's really been tough.
The federal government has come in, and the mayor's office has helped us. And you know, everybody's been wonderful. But the bottom line is, is financially, it's been tough. Boylston Street's buzzing.
BLITZER: I can see it's packed today. So right down the next block, in front of that forum restaurant, a bomb went off. It's hard to believe. You think about. How many years have you been working here on Boylston Street?
BORASH: We've been here 35 years, right here at this location. And it's the first time I can ever remember anything -- anything vaguely -- I mean, nothing, you know.
BLITZER: Maybe a robbery or something like that, but nothing like this. BORASH: No. This was -- this was insane. This was a terrorist attack. You know, right out in front of us, people had gotten hit.
I was very lucky. I came down the stairs with my son right before the bomb. And I was going to ask him to go to the mailbox and mail some letters. And he said to me, "Dad, can we get out of here?" You know, he had someplace to go. And I said, OK. And we turned this way going right. And had we said "OK, we're going to go mail them," he would have gotten hit with the second bomb. I count my blessings. But it's just a horrible feeling.
And, you know, Boylston Street's very busy. People are here. People are going back. The terrorists did not win.
BLITZER: Were you here when the bomb went off? Did you hear that bomb go off?
BORASH: Yes. We were just right down here. Probably maybe another 30 yards from where the first bomb went off. And we didn't know what it was. We looked up, and we still didn't really know what it was. And before we could even figure it out, we just -- we were still walking, and then the second bomb went off. And it shook us.
You know, the next thing I know, we're running in terror. It reminded me of the films of 9/11. And we thought they were gunshots. We really thought people were shooting guns. And it was just crazy. And in my store here at Sir Speedy, there were still some employees here. They were bringing people in off the street, and bringing them to the back of the building because they thought maybe the bombs were still happening.
BLITZER: So you saw people who were wounded?
BORASH: I didn't personally see them, because I was down here at the corner. But my people did see people that got hit, and the ambulances were lined up right out here, as they were treating the people.
BLITZER: Now, will there be some compensation? You had nine days, no business. Is there going to be -- I know there's compensation for the victims and their families, people who have been injured and dead. But what about the businesses that suffered?
BLITZER: Well, the mayor's office actually came in here again today. I mean, they've been tremendous. They -- they're trying to get federal assistance. And they said that the government is making this a federal disaster. And they're trying to get federal assistance for a lot of the businesses. Because there are a lot of businesses on the street hurting right now.
Just, I mean, this city is probably one of the greatest cities in the world to be in, because I've got to tell you, the people care here. And that's why I said the terrorists will never win, because you know what? We're too strong. You know, I've got a sign up here that says "Boston Strong." And the bottom line is, is we are. You know, we've got our Red Sox and Bruins and Celtics. And you know, we've got the people, too. So...
BLITZER: I can confirm that Boston is strong. Ed, thanks so much.
BORASH: Thank you, Wolf.
BLITZER: Good luck to you.
BORASH: Appreciate it.
BLITZER: Good luck to your employees, your family. Good luck to everybody in Boston.
BORASH: Thank you.
BLITZER: I want to thank Ed Borash for that interview.
Up next, is Tamerlan Tsarnaev's widow opening up to investigators? What we're learning about that. That's coming up.
BLITZER: Investigators are trying to find out if the Boston bombers took advantage of an al Qaeda how-to manual for building bombs. Our pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, has been looking into that.
BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): How did the Tsarnaev brothers learn to make the bombs the government says they used to attack the Boston Marathon? Congress has been told this online al Qaeda magazine, called "Inspire," is one possibility the FBI is looking at.
SEN. SAXBY CHAMBLISS (R), GEORGIA: There is very clear indication that they reviewed "Inspire."
REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D), MISSISSIPPI: It's targeted members of Congress and other things. It gives notices, how you can make bombs.
STARR: This 2010 "Inspire" article, "Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom," has been downloaded around the world. "Inspire," printed in English, worries counterterrorism officials for its appeal to individuals living in the west. The Yemeni-American cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki, was a driving force behind it, until a U.S. drone strike killed him in 2011.
PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: There are a number of striking similarities between the devices described in the criminal complaint and the Boston incident, and the magazine.
STARR: Similarities like the use of pressure cookers, B.B. pellets and nails inside the bomb, set within an adhesive material similar to what "Inspire" calls for. An explosive powder was used in Boston. "Inspire" suggests the same elements. And...
CRUICKSHANK: Another issue of "Inspire" that recently came out included advice about how to launch a successful attack in the west, and advised to launch an attack against a sporting event, in a crowded space.
STARR: CNN commissioned experts to show David Mattingly a pressure-cooker bomb.
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We are now over a quarter of a mile away from where we left that pressure cooker.
(voice-over): But that's still not far enough to avoid flying shrapnel. So we're watching from inside a bunker.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two, one...
STARR: Now, a senior U.S. official tells CNN investigators still must determine if the men may have looked at other Web sites to learn additional information about bomb making, any number of Web sites, and they, of course, want to know, still, did anyone help them, and who sold them the bomb-making materials -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Important questions indeed. Barbara, thanks very, very much.
We're just getting this important information here. The parents of the two Boston bombing suspects, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the parents are now supposedly going to be flying to the United States tomorrow. That's Thursday.
The Russian state news agency is quoting the father as saying this today. The parents have supposedly agreed to assist U.S. authorities in the investigation into the bombings. A police source said all of this, according to this Russian news agency, Ria Nabosky (ph). We're getting more information. But right now, we're being told -- and this just in -- that the parents, the mother and the father of these two suspects, will be flying to the United States on Thursday. That would be tomorrow.
Up next, the financial help that the Tsarnaev brothers got from the American taxpayers.
And tonight, don't forget 10 p.m. on "ANDERSON COOPER 360," the former president, George W. Bush, he weighs in on the Boston bombings. Also weighing in on life after the presidency.
BLITZER: Welfare for the Boston bomb suspects. Massachusetts now says both brothers got benefits as children from taxpayers, and indeed as recently as last year. CNN's Erin McPike is in Rhode Island watching what's going on. Erin, what -- what have we learned about Tamerlan Tsarnaev receiving public assistance?
ERIN MCPIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, today CNN confirms that Tamerlan Tsarnaev received public assistance in actually two ways. The Department of Health and Human Services actually gave us a statement earlier today. I'll read part of that to you.
"Both Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev received benefits through their parents when they were younger. Separately, Tamerlan and his family received benefits until 2012, when the family became ineligible based on their income." That second part, his family -- he had a family with Katy Russell, whose parents live in a house behind me here. That family, and their daughter, who is now about 2 1/2 years old, Wolf.
BLITZER: And you caught up with a friend of that Russell family in Rhode Island, where you are. What more are we learning about Katherine Russell?
MCPIKE: Well, actually, Wolf, I've talked to a number of people who know the Russell family today. And we're hearing the same thing from every -- every one of them, really, that the Russell family is a very good family, that Katie Russell and her younger sister, Anna, was very artistic, very nice girls. Lots of people knew them, and they were very well liked when they were in high school.
Many of them are very surprised to hear this news, Wolf. And they think -- they're just not very -- they're not happy about the attention that this community's getting for this issue, Wolf.
BLITZER: Erin McPike on the scene for us in Rhode Island. Thank you.
Coming up, a disturbing twist in the case. We're watching what's going on as new information that the suspects may have been heading to New York City. What they planned to do there might surprise you.
BLITZER: We're now learning that the alleged Boston bombers may have planned to travel to New York City after the attacks for what's being described as a party. Listen to the New York City police commissioner, Ray Kelly.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAY KELLY, NEW YORK CITY POLICE COMMISSIONER: There was some information that -- that they may have been intent to come to New York but not to continue what they were doing. The information that we received said something about a party or having a party. A bit of information that we have that it may have been words to the effect of coming to party in New York.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BLITZER: Bring in our chief political analyst, Gloria Borger.
Gloria, I know you've been doing some digging on this story. What are your sources telling you about this?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, let's provide a little context for this, Wolf. You'll remember earlier in the week we were reporting that during the carjacking, the person who was carjacked heard the brothers talk. They were talking in a foreign language. Didn't understand them. Heard the word "Manhattan." So that kind of rang a bell.
When interrogators then are questioning Dzhokhar, one of the questions obviously is -- and Ray Kelly is talking about what occurred during this interrogation -- one of the questions is, of course, "What were you planning to do in New York?" And you see what Ray Kelly said.
We also know that investigators are looking at this picture that first appeared in "The New York Post" from 2012 of Dzhokhar, who was in Times Square. And they're looking into whether there were other trips to New York by either of these brothers. But my source says so far he sees, quote, "nothing conspiratorial" about these visits.
BLITZER: Do authorities, Gloria, believe Dzhokhar is actually telling them the truth?
BORGER: Well, one intelligence source I spoke with said that it's way too early. We've heard reports that he was self-radicalized. And they're saying, you know what? It's too early to form a conclusion from a hospital bed interrogation. You have to wait and see.
But another thing I'm hearing, Wolf, are lots of questions that are being raised about just how much information authorities had from the Russians. And as you've been talking about during the show, whether there should have been more communication with the Russians.
I was told by somebody looking into this, in fact, that the FBI went back to the Russians, and when they asked for more information, they did not get it. So we don't know what the Russians had originally, and we also know that no more was offered to us when we investigated.
BLITZER: Gloria, thanks for the reporting.
BLITZER: We, of course, appreciate it.
Up next, a final salute to the MIT police officer allegedly killed by the bombing suspects. Stand by for some very emotional farewells.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLITZER: Now an emotional final tribute to Sean Collier, the 26- year-old MIT police officer who was killed last week before the Tsarnaev brothers' shootout with the police. Listen to this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We gather today to honor Officer Sean Collier, a member of our community whose dedication to our protection cost him his life.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are strong. We are Collier strong.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Detail! Halt!
CHIEF JOHN DIFAVA, MIT POLICE: On behalf of the men and women of the MIT Police department, thank you for being here with us to honor the memory of our fallen brother, Sean Collier.
There are those few who were born to enter the profession. It is a calling, a vocation. It is a desire to do good, help people and tackle the problems of a modern society in a meaningful way. I believe that Sean was one of those few.
(JAMES TAYLOR SINGING)
ROB ROGERS, SEAN COLLIER'S BROTHER: People have asked me if Sean were here what would he think? Are you kidding me? He would love this. Sirens, flashing lights, formations, people saluting, bagpipes, "Taps," the American flag. He would have loved it. He was born to be a police officer, and he lived out his dreams.
JOE LIEBERMAN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We want to thank not only Sean's family for their willing to support their brother, their son taking on this work, but all of your husbands and wives, fathers and mothers and children. We owe you so much more than just honoring you on days of grief and celebration.
BLITZER: Brooke Baldwin is with me. Brooke, this is so sad.
BALDWIN: Talk about it, 26 years old. Fifteen months on the job. We were talking to James Taylor, shower the people you love with love. You know, tell them how you feel.
BLITZER: A lot of tears.
BALDWIN: A lot of tears.
BLITZER: This is one of those moments that everybody will always remember. BALDWIN: Definitely. So many people you saw, the police supporting their fallen brother not just from Boston, not just from MIT but from Massachusetts, from across the country there. So a solemn moment as we remember, as the hash tag says on Twitter today, #collierstrong.
BLITZER: May he rest in peace.
BLITZER: Thanks very much. That's it for me. Thanks very much for watching. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.